North Korea’s rocket fails
Watch the video, answer the questions on a piece of paper, then check your answers.
- What happened to the rocket?
After little more than a minute it exploded over the Yellow Sea.
- Why were other countries concerned?
They feared that North Korea might one day use the rocket to carry a nuclear warhead.
- What did the North Korean government do that was very unusual?
It admitted publicly that there had been a problem.
- What did the television announcer say?
She said that the earth observation satellite failed to enter orbit and experts were looking into it.
- Who were in the conference room in Pyongyang?
- What time was the rocket launched?
- Where was the rocket supposed to go?
South between Japan and the Philippines
- How far did it travel?
- When was the assembly held?
Two days ago
- Why is this missile failure particularly significant?
Because it is Kim Jong-un’s first attempt at showing his muscle on the international stage.
- How did some people in South Korea react?
They protested on the streets.
- What did the Japanese call the launch?
An extreme provocation
- What did the North Koreans do after a similar problem in 2009?
They tested a nuclear device.
- Who are the statues of?
North Korea’s former supreme leaders
- What does North Korea need?
Watch the video, complete the gaps on a piece of paper, then check your answers.
In Burma they were schmoozing in a former dissident’s rose garden. In another corner of Asia it was a day of plunging projectiles. North Korea launched a long-range rocket which after little more than a minute exploded over the Yellow Sea. The neighbours were relieved. They and many in the international community had condemned the launch, fearing that North Korea might one day use the rocket to carry a nuclear warhead. But perhaps most extraordinary, North Korea admitted publicly there’d been a problem. Here’s our Asia correspondent John Sparks.
According to the propagandists, this is the year that North Korea becomes fully developed and strong and prosperous. So what better way to celebrate than a big glorious rocket? Except the next part didn’t exactly go to plan.
Regular programming was interrupted for a short announcement. "The earth observation satellite failed to enter orbit," she said. "Experts are looking into it." It was an unprecedented admission of failure and an embarrassment in front of foreign journalists brought in to document the event, albeit from a videoless conference room in the capital, Pyongyang.
But here’s what we know from international observers. It blasted off at 7.39 am from a north-western rocket base. Its intended flight path would have taken it south between Japan and the Philippines, but it was only airborne one minute and covered just one hundred kilometres before exploding over the Yellow Sea.
It’s a PR fiasco for the country’s boyish new leader, Kim Jong-un, and the elders who advise him. The missile launch, one of a number of events like this assembly two days ago, designed to solidify his power.
This failure is a big deal. They’ve had other launch failures before as well, but this one is a huge deal because it is also Kim Jong-un’s first attempt at really showing his muscle on the international stage.
Well, they weren’t impressed in neighbouring South Korea. The launch brought protesters out on the streets. The fear here that if North Korea improves its technology, it could put warheads not satellites on its missiles. The country’s foreign minister called for a resolute response. The Japanese described the launch as an extreme provocation. The UN called on North Korea not to do anything else.
The Secretary-General urges the DPRK not to undertake any further provocative actions.
Many are worried. In 2009 they followed a failed missile launch by testing a nuclear device. This evening they were getting on with the show, unveiling giant statues of the country’s former supreme leaders. This devotional experience went smoothly, but the coming months will be more difficult. This impoverished nation needs friends and Kim Jong-un didn’t win any today.